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About State Hospitals
Minnesota established the first hospital for the insane, as it was then known, at St. Peter in 1866. As the population grew, several other hospitals were added, some focusing on particular types of illnesses, disabilities, or age groups. In 1985 several of the state hospitals became regional treatment centers, many offering outpatient services. Over time, several hospitals closed and the state developed a more community-based approach to the care and treatment of the patients formerly housed in these large facilities. Records for these facilities document their operations as well as some of the patients who resided there. Among the state hospitals for which the Library holds records are:
- Anoka State Hospital: The first state hospital in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, opened in 1900.
- Brainerd State Hospital: (Opened in 1958)
- Cambridge State Hospital: Opened in1925 as the Colony for Epileptics. It closed in 1997.
- Faribault State School and Hospital: Opened in1879 as an experimental department of the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind for "idiotic and feeble-minded children" and then became a separate institution. The institution had several name changes before its closure in1998.
- Fergus Falls State Hospital: Initially named the third state hospital for the insane, operated between 1890 and 2004.
- Hastings State Hospital: (Operated 1900-1978)
- Rochester State Hospital: Began as the Minnesota Inebriate Asylum in 1879. In 1893 the name was changed to Rochester State Hospital. It closed in1982.
- St. Peter State Hospital: The first state hospital, opened in 1866. A separate institution, also located in St. Peter, the Minnesota Security Hospital/Asylum for the Dangerous Insane, was opened in 1907.
- Willmar State Hospital: Originally named the Hospital Farm for Inebriates, serving patients who voluntarily sought treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs, was open between 1912 and 2008.
Researching State Hospitals
State Hospital Links
State Hospitals: Historical Patient Records
A guide to the patient, employee, and student records from MN State Hospitals that are available at the MNHS Library.
State Hospital Records Request
If you want us to do the research for you, check out this fee-based research service.
Patient Registers & Indexes in the Department of Public Welfare
Indexes and registers of patients at several state hospitals from their beginnings until about 1924.
Aggregated Patient Cards in the Department of Human Services
Patient index cards in the records of the Human Services Department State Operated Services covering multiple state hospitals and institutions circa 1920s to 1990s in two series, regular and deceased (those who died while residents).
Search for books, pamphlets, maps, A/V materials, and archival and manuscript collections in our Library Catalog.
Search for 3/D objects, photographs, art, maps, and more from the MNHS Collections.
Search the full text of digital finding aids for State Archives and manuscript collections at MNHS.
Minnesota History Magazine
Use the index to find articles on a particular subject or use the search box to find any term that appears in online versions of articles.
Search MNHS Box
Search MNHS websites, as well as Collections Online, Finding Aids and other resources. This search does not search in the library catalog.